The Ophelia EP marks the second release under JT Stewart’s own name and effectively signals his shedding of long-time alias and the shark invested waters of $tinkworx. The first record, Krill, came on Jochem Peteri’s (aka Newworldaquarium) newly minted Indische Buurt label, offering up piercing, slow-motion electro paranoia. And while it didn’t break completely with Stewart’s previous modus operandi, it kicked off a new direction of ultra-focused musical statements and attention to refining detail.
“Vandaleur” sports a booming kick drum, delayed synth stabs, and a mysterious effervescent melody while a curling arpeggio bass line creeps in to infuse a welcome funkiness to the track. Starting out with crumbling techno vamps, shifting toms, and shuffling hi-hat programming on “Forgotten Hauler,” Stewart develops a quirky techno stomper that is driven by strong interwoven bass line melodies, their modulations squelching over each other in a voltaic duel. When it’s all said and done the impression isn’t far off from an updating of the Rhythim is Rhythim sound, minus the dramatic synth flourishes. The highpoint on this release comes on the title track that uses moody pads and streaming piano sequences to touch some seriously deep ground. Flailing 909 percussion and dry kick pair well with a more subtle bass line lending attention to the beautiful melodic phrasing and evocative atmosphere. $tinkworx may be MIA, but long live JT Stewart.